The 50th Anniversary of the First George Lois Esquire Cover

The 50th Anniversary of the First George Lois Esquire Cover This month marks the 50th anniversary of the first cover that George Lois designed for Esquire, (October 1962), and Fast Company is making note of it in their new design issue and on their iPad app. This photograph of Lois holding his first Esquire cover, by Platon, appears exclusively in the October 2012 Fast Company iPad app issue. There are other great Lois portraits by Platon, and a conversation between the two on creativity and courage. And there's a brilliant video on the iPad app of Lois reciting the lyrics to Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin.'"

Fast Company creative director Florian Bachleda has unearthed a classic story about that first Lois cover, and the Esquire publisher's worried response.



  • Photographer Platon and George Lois
    Photographer Platon and George Lois
  • George Lois, photograph by Platon
    George Lois, photograph by Platon
  • Fast Company, October 2012. Photograph by Art Streiber, creative director: Florian Bachleda
    Fast Company, October 2012. Photograph by Art Streiber, creative director: Florian Bachleda
  • The October 1962 Esquire Publisher's Letter, part 1
    The October 1962 Esquire Publisher's Letter, part 1
  • The October 1962 Esquire Publisher's Letter, part 2
    The October 1962 Esquire Publisher's Letter, part 2


On the October 1962 Esquire cover, Lois accurately predicted that boxer Sonny Liston would defeat Floyd Patterson in their upcoming heavyweight championship fight. The cover depicts a boxer, wearing Patterson's shorts, lying knocked out on the canvass. Says Lois, "The press wrote about the chutzpah of calling a fight on a magazine cover, and the issue was a sellout."

In the wake of Liston's first round knockout of Patterson, it's hard to imagine, but that opinion at the time was decidedly in the minority. Lois pointed out the Publisher's Letter, which ran inside that October 1962 Esquire issue, to Florian Bachleda, and he and passed it along to SPD. In it they take Lois's cover to task, disavowing his prediction and saying "we'd prefer to believe that Liston can be stopped, and that Patterson is the one that can do it." And it's not a passing comment; half the letter is devoted to criticizing Lois's cover choice. It's a pointed lesson to the fact, as Bachleda says, "that designers should stick to their guns."

The Fast Company iPad app is available here.

See more cool images and pages from the Fast Company design issue here.

The Fast Company Innovation By Design Awards are October 16. See the 56 finalists here.


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